Critical race theory is a sugar cube for the ears of the left, and a rhetorical symphony to those who would rather attend to emotional appeal than facts.
What is CRT?
CRT is a philosophy descended from Neo-Marxism, postmodernism, and critical theory. It includes concepts such as "white privilege" and "white fragility” and adopts the Marxist idea that society consists of oppressors versus the oppressed. It also exhibits the postmodern view that "truth" is simply a reflection of the biases of the oppressor class. The question in this worldview is not what is truth but rather what is your perspective? According to CRT, if you don't have the perspective of an oppressed class, your views are invalid. CRT only grants moral authority to those it sees as oppressed.
Proponents of CRT operate from the assumption that in every facet of life, underlying racism exists and motivates the oppressor class. Proponents do not consider a situation on its face, instead they approach it by believing that racism is present whether it is overt or hidden below the surface and try to point out the racist motivations that influence nearly every situation.
Critical race theory has insulated itself from scrutiny by stating that if you disagree with its claims, that proves you are a racist. Consider this analogy: I walk up to you and say "You are stupid." You would likely protest that you are not stupid. You would demand evidence for my claim. Following the argumentation of CRT, I would respond, "See, you're so stupid that you can't even see how stupid you are, and you proved my point." This type of nonsense sounds more like something out of Alice in Wonderland than a legitimate argument, but in critical race theory, as with all Marxist philosophies, sense is relative to one’s personal agenda. If you claim an argument should be rational, that is only evidence of white European oppression of other cultures.
Another sinister aspect of CRT is that all racial groups are viewed as monolithic from their interests to their voting patterns. Where deviating from the group is not allowed is if the deviation leads someone away from CRT. If a black person votes Republican they are labeled with slurs, or as Joe Biden said, “they aren’t really black.” If a black person sides with the oppressor class, they have lost their "blackness" and are no longer a member of the oppressed class. CRT, ironically, is supremely racist.
Lately this philosophy has been gaining traction with Christians as it appeals to their desire for compassion and helping the downtrodden. The Southern Baptist Convention, one of the more conservative denominations, even passed Resolution 9 stating that critical race theory was a "useful analytical tool." There is nothing useful about it. But the real question is, is it biblical? To borrow a Spurgeon phrase, this philosophy is no more Christian "than chalk is cheese".
As Paul wrote in Ephesians, Christ has removed the division between Jew and Gentile and in Christ we are made into one man. Christ reconciled us to Himself and to each other through the cross and built us up into one body. That is the exact antithesis of CRT. CRT teaches people, particularly black people, that they are second class citizens who are being oppressed by white people and that the "system" is designed to keep them from a successful life. CRT is permanently cynical in that it assumes the worst of white people and holds them responsible for every sin throughout history. In opposition to this stands 1 Corinthians 13:5-7 which teaches that love does not seek its own nor keep a record of wrongs. Love isn't cynical but eternally hopeful and optimistic.
Jesus said to Pilate in John 18:37b, “You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” In John 14:6 Christ said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me." Jesus not only assumes there is objective truth, He claims to be the truth. The Bible never gives any credence to the concept that truth is a matter of perspective or that a person cannot speak the truth because they are of the wrong race.
Hebrews chapter 10 teaches that the only atonement for sin is found in the sacrifice of Christ. No amount of temple sacrifices, day after day, year after year could cleanse the people of their sins, yet the sacrifice of Christ washes His people of their sins past, present, and future. Christianity offers forgiveness of sin through the blood of Jesus Christ, grace unearned and undeserved. Critical race theory offers permanent guilt and the perpetual performance of rituals of wokeness. If thousands of years of temple sacrifices could not atone for sins, neither can the self-flagellation of decrying your privilege.
A philosophy that destroys the concept of individual responsibility, truth, and forgiveness can never be compatible with the Bible. A philosophy that stands against the core tenets of Christianity has no place in the church as an analytical tool or anything else. CRT will never bring healing. Only Christ can do that.
Ryan Helfenbein is the Vice President of Communications and Public Engagement at Liberty University and Executive Director of the Falkirk Center for Faith & Liberty.